Getting ready for back to school again always seems like a challenge. Here are tips how to make an easy lunch packing station and 3 easy peanut-free lunchbox ideas to help that morning rush. While this post is sponsored by Healthy Crunch, all opinions and recipes are our own.
Back to school time isn’t just in the Fall. It also happens after winter break. In fact, I think that getting the kids back to school after Christmas is just as hard, if not harder, than the summer break. Summer break is a few months…the kids (and us adults!) get plenty of time to relax and get used to sleeping in. But the winter break. That one is only about 2 weeks, so just when you get used to staying up a little later and sleeping in a little longer, bam….it all changes again. Plus, it’s colder outside, so sleeping in and not getting ready for school and work is much more appealing 😉
We have to remember that no matter how mature kids may look, they are still adolescents, and as such, they still need understanding, guidance, and support. Even after the short few weeks after winter break.
Adjusting back to an early waking time, routines, classroom confining, and all the other fun stuff that going back to school can create anxiety for kids.
After a week or so, kids usually get used to the routine again, but be ready for a couple of rough days, and stay on top by planning ahead and prepping. Meal planning can help with the dinner time rush and prepping a lunch packing station can help with the morning rush. In fact, having a lunch packing station may answer those busy “What’s for dinner” nights too! Who says you can’t have banana sushi for dinner??
Transitioning back to the structure of the academic environment is challenging. Preparing for scheduling and academic success sets the right tone for a successful start. This includes beginning to keep a schedule and adjusting to morning and evening routines.
Kids need to pay attention to the wake and sleep cycle which is likely to have changed during the school break. As social needs take a back seat to academic demands, sticking to awake time and bedtime is essential to achieving success. Sleep is one of the single most important predictors of success!
So is food. There is some validity to that saying You are what you eat!
Of course, the best snacks for children are fresh fruits and vegetables. But how do you find time to make healthy lunches for the kids as well as get ready yourself in the morning?
Have the kids help!
We are all about empowering the kids in the kitchen! Sometimes they just need a little guidance. And that’s exactly why we love this Lunch Packing Station. We came up with 3 easy and nutritious lunches that you (and the kids!) can make with under 10 ingredients. Plus, no refrigeration is needed, so if you forgot to put those ice packs back in the freezer, no worries!
To make a lunch packing station you will need:
- A choice of grain – we used whole wheat bread, rice cakes and whole wheat tortillas.
- Spreads – We love Healthy Crunch Seed Butters and Chia Jams because they are made with less sugar, they are allergen-free and are manufactured in a nut-free facility.
- Fruit – Bananas are a terrific choice as well and don’t need refrigeration. Apples and grapes are also an excellent option!
- Vegetables – Be sure to try a variety of different fresh fruits and veggies, just because your child didn’t like something last month doesn’t mean they won’t this month. You are bound to find something they like, especially if they see you eating it. They may like a fruit or raw vegetable the fourth or fifth time they taste it. Don’t give up buying them if they do not eat them once!
- Snacks – While I would like to say that a lunch packed with mainly fruits and veggies would make my kiddos happy, I will admit that they often need a “treat”. And lately they are enjoying Healthy Crunch Crispy Squares and granola bars. They come in a few different varieties and we haven’t found one we don’t enjoy yet! Personally, I like the s’mores crispy squares 😉
For your lunch-prep station we recommend cutting up veggies so that they are ready to eat. You can do this yourself and save money if you have time. Chop up cleaned celery and peeled carrot sticks. Put them in plastic colorful containers or zipper bags. You can prepare these little “goodie” bags ahead of time so they are ready to go in the morning rush. Try tangerines or mandarins, as they are much easier to peel than oranges.
Now that you have an idea of what to put on your Lunch Prep station, let’s get to some easy recipes ideas. Now, these are great for school lunches, at-home lunches, summer lunches, weekend lunches or for the busy weeknights that you just don’t have time to cook! With only 10 ingredients you will have 3 meal ideas! Oh…and each idea is completely nut-free! Bonus!
Banana Sushi – Complete with Chocolate Seed Butter, making this “sushi” nutritious and sweet.
Banana Sushi Rolls
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- 1 large banana
- 2 tbsp chocolate seed butter
- 1 tbsp strawberry chia spread
- Spread chocolate spread on tortilla. Place banana on one side of wrap. Roll tightly. Use a knife to cut into slices.
- Drizzle with strawberry chia spread for serving.
PB & J Rice Cake – We used Healthy Crunch Superseed Seed Butter and Blueberry Chia Jam. Making this version of PB & J completely peanut free.
Seed Butter & Jam Rice Cake
- 1 rice cake
- 1 tbsp seed butter
- 1 tbsp blueberry chia spread
- 1 tbsp white chocolate chips
- Spread seed butter on rice cake. Top with blueberry chia spread and white chocolate chips.
Sandwich Skewers – We added apples for a bit of crunch and Salted Caramel Seed Butter for a delicious twist on your typical sandwich.
Caramel Apple Sandwich Kebabs
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 1/3 apple cute into rectangle pieces
- 2 tbsp salted caramel seed butter
- Cut edges off bread slices and cut into four even squares. Spread seed butter onto all of the pieces of bread and assemble kebabs with bread and apple slices
The key to healthy eating is up to us as parents. Set a good example and always keep fresh, healthy choices in the house. When the food is available, you will be pleasantly surprised on what the kiddos pack in their lunches.